Thinking small: ‘Create your own tasting menu’ restaurant arrives in London

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

Chef Michael Riemenschneider has worked alongside Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Bras, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay throughout his career
Chef Michael Riemenschneider has worked alongside Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Bras, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay throughout his career
The recent flurry of small fine-dining venues in London looks set to continue into 2014 with the opening of a new, 20-cover ‘create your own tasting menu’ restaurant in Marylebone next week.

Swiss chef Michael Riemenschneider, who used to head up the Abbey in Penzance and has worked with the likes of Michel Bras and Heston Blumenthal, will open CANVAS on Marylebone Lane on Tuesday (14 January). Riemenschneider  wants to ‘modernise fine-dining’ and incite a more immersive dining experience.

“The concept of CANVAS by Michael Riemenschneider is to encourage a more engaging fine-dining experience,” said the chef. “I want to take the tasting menu off its pedestal and make it more accessible and fun whilst maintaining an exceptional standard of both cuisine and service.

“There simply isn’t anything like this at the moment.”

Tasting menus

Diners will be invited to construct a tasting menu of a minimum of three courses, up to nine courses at lunch, or a substantial 15-course dinner - from a selection of 16 dishes, all created by Riemenschneider.

Langoustine: Pearl barley, veal, asparagus, jus crustace

They can build their menu as they see fit, choosing as many starters, mains or desserts, as they prefer, with the agreement of the entire party. The chef will then determine the most appropriate sequence in which these dishes are delivered.

The menu at CANVAS by Michael Riemenschneider will be comprised of five signature plates, available year-round, and a further 11 seasonally-inspired dishes such as pigeon with chocolate, beetroot and ‘the golden egg’; scallop with cauliflower ‘a little different’, caramel and juniper. Classic dessert favourites will have a ‘contemporary edge’ and will include a variation of Michael’s Grandmother’s brioche bread & butter pudding with bananas and pistachio.

For those seeking a more traditional tasting menu experience, a £65 ‘Menu Surprise’ will be available, offering a five-course bespoke menu of the chef’s choosing, comprising new and off-menu items to suit all dietary requirements.

Experienced head sommelier Alis Jusic will offer recommended wine matches for each dish, with the wine list featuring a range of fine vintages. The restaurant will also offer two wine flights - ‘classic’ and ‘iconic’, tailored for every tasting menu.

Thinking small

Small fine-dining restaurants are popular in both Paris and New York but the trend swept across London last year with the opening of a number of these ‘intimate’ establishments.

Marianne Lumb, a finalist in the 2009 series of MasterChef: The Professionals, launched her 14-cover restaurant in Notting Hill​ in September. Casse-Croûte​ (20 covers), Story (40), The Five Fields (40 covers) and Kitchen Table (19 covers) are just a few of the other smaller restaurants to spring up in the capital recently.

The popularity of these smaller venues can also be seen abroad – a glance at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list​ would testify their appeal. They can initially be much cheaper for the restaurateur as well, but landlords are quickly becoming more aware of the extra appeal these sites can have, and prices are increasing.

CANVAS by Michael Riemenschneider will open at 69 Marylebone Lane on 14 January 2014.

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